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Arrests relating to family violence

According to the police code of practice, police are expected to treat all incidents of family violence as a crime until they establish that no criminal offence has been committed.

When at the scene, a police officer must determine whether there are sufficient grounds to make an arrest. They may arrest a person on suspicion of criminal offences.

After interviewing and investigating an incident, the police decide whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the offender. They can lay criminal charges if they believe a criminal offence has been committed.

Power to arrest if there is family violence

A police officer also has the power to arrest a respondent:

  • for contravention of family violence safety notice (without a warrant)
  • if a magistrate or registrar has issued warrant
  • for contravention of family violence intervention order (without a warrant).

The purpose of the direction and detention powers is to protect the family member before and after they go to court.

Police may also choose to detain someone.

See Detention.

More information


Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic)

  • s. 38—power to arrest for contravention of a safety notice without a warrant
  • s. 50—warrant may be issued by a registrar or magistrate; lists when this can be issued; not necessary for warrant to be in possession of police at the time of the arrest
  • s. 124—power to arrest for contravention of an intervention order without a warrant

See Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic).

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

  • s. 457—no person to be arrested without a warrant unless this is explicitly stated in this or another Act
  • s. 458—power to arrest person who is caught committing an offence
  • s. 459—police power to apprehend

See Crimes Act 1958 (Vic).

Victoria Police

See Victoria Police—Code of practice for the investigation of family violence.